Olyvia Mugweh ’17 on dance at Rowland Hall: "Sofia helped me find myself as a dancer, and in that, I was able to find myself as a person."
…isn't merely entertainment, but a soulful, skillful experience for
student-artists and audiences alike.
Dance concerts often showcase contemporary movement, but as part of the curriculum, students also learn traditional styles. Here, upper schoolers channeled that knowledge to choreograph and perform this fun, kitschy, roaring-twenties tribute—a crowd-pleasing video intro for Rowland Hall's 2017 auction, the Great Gala.
Whether taking a dance class or becoming fully immersed in the choreographic, rehearsal, performance, and social aspects of our Ensemble program, aspiring and accomplished dancers find our program inspirational and deeply involving.
Professional dancers Sofia Gorder and Allison Spehar direct and choreograph middle and upper schoolers across the full gamut of styles—from modern dance to musical theater, and from jazz improvisation to contemporary ballet. Every year, two dance concerts—one in fall, one in winter—energize our school community.
Rowland Hall offers a yearlong Lower School Dance Ensemble for second through fifth graders in our Extended Day Arts and Ensembles program. Once they're in middle and upper school, dancers are placed in Ensembles 1–6, but they're encouraged to reach across course levels and age groups to learn from one another. Dancers, after all, often work collaboratively to build something larger than themselves.
Middle schoolers work toward efficiency in movement through classical training methods such as ballet, jazz, and modern dance, as well as parkour, break dance, hip hop, martial arts, improvisation, and composition. The goal is to develop the following: the body as a tool for physicality; individual voice; technical skill for dance as an art form; and the ability to work collaboratively, negotiate the creative process, and perform.
As our students develop as dancers, so does the depth of the curriculum. In the Upper School, emphasis is placed on both proficiency and fluidity in a variety of traditional and contemporary styles. Every spring, senior dancers present a concert as the culmination of their Rowland Hall dance careers.